Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipt Hotovely on Thursday condemned the burning and graffiti desecration of a church, which police said was beginning to look like a hate crime.
"I condemn these actions fully,” Hotovely stressed. “Israel respects freedom of religion for all and is repulsed by such actions. I am positive that police will do everything they can to arrest those behind this action and prevent them from repeating themselves.”
Firefighters responding Thursday morning to a blaze at a church on the shores of the Kinneret were witness to a defacing attack by still-unknown parties.
The graffiti scrawled on the walls of Tabgha's Church of the Multiplication, in Hebrew, were taken from a passage in the Hebrew prayerbook, asking that “the worshippers of idols be destroyed.
Police have opened an investigation into both the defacing and the fire, which they believe was set intentionally. Police are considering labeling the incident a hate crime, which would provide harsher punishments for the perpetrators.
Commenting on the incident, Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick condemned the arson, saying that many of those who are likely to condemn it as well are “hypocrites."
"To condemn violence against a church but to remain silent daily as Jews are attacked for the 'crime' of ascending the Temple Mount is sheer hypocrisy.”